Restorative Justice

Restorative Justice is a criminal justice concept that gives victims a voice, focuses on offender accountability, and promotes healing for everyone affected by crime – victims, families, communities, and offenders. It recognizes crime hurts everyone and creates an obligation to make things right. 

3 Key Restorative Justice Concepts

  • Crime is a violation of people and relationships.
  • Crime creates harms, needs and obligations.
  • Individuals most affected should be meaningfully included and empowered.

A Victim Offender Dialogue (VOD) is a service provided to victims and survivors that gives them the opportunity to have a structured, facilitated meeting with the offender in the crime against them. 

The DOC provides the opportunity for this to occur in a safe setting, after intensive preparation of both parties under the direction of trained facilitators.

Only victims can initiate such a dialogue, and the process is voluntary for both parties. It requires a substantial commitment of time for preparation and can have a lasting emotional impact. Either party may discontinue the process at any time.

If you would like to discuss Victim Offender Dialogue opportunities, please contact DOC Victim Services.

Download the Victim Offender Dialogue brochure here.

The Victim Impact Panel (VIP) program follows a restorative justice model by allowing crime victims an opportunity to heal by talking about the crime's impact upon themselves, their families, friends and the community as a whole. VIPs give victims an opportunity to talk about their experiences, meet other victims who might have similar experiences, and hold offenders accountable for their crimes.

VIPs are designed to provide offenders with the understanding how their actions and criminal behavior affects the lives of innocent people and how the resulting consequences and tragic outcomes are 100 percent preventable. 

Staff will ensure that victims who volunteer for a VIP do not encounter their offender during their visit to a DOC facility.

Crime victims who are ready to share their stories with offenders and other victims, or who would like more information, may contact DOC Victim Services.

Download the Victim Impact Panel brochure here.

The Accountability Letter Bank provides offenders an opportunity to communicate to the victims of thier crimes their understanding of the harm caused by their actions and acknowledge responsibility for the consequences of their behavior. 

Letters written to victims by offenders remain in the Accountability Letter Bank, a depository in the Victim Services program manager's office, until victims choose to receive them. The letters are reviewed by DOC Victim Services prior to being accepted. The letter should relate to a specific incident and victim/survivor, and the content of the letter should acknowledge the harm done and demonstrate acceptance of responsibility for the crime. The content of the letter should not blame others, offer excuses, or request forgiveness from the victim/survivor. An informational guide and letter guidelines are available to offenders interested in participating in the program.

DOC does not allow offenders to mail letters directly to victims, but we will inform a victim that a letter is available if we have current contact information. Victims who would like to know whether their offender wrote a letter may call DOC Victim Services or their local victim liaison.

Download the Accountability Letter Program brochure here.

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